2   +   8   =  

Season specific films are starting to pick up now, as you’ll see with drunken corporate partying and holiday classics, but there’s also space for one of 2016’s most talked about films, and a home release for a well-received remake.

What a rollercoaster year it’s been for The Birth of a Nation. Nate Parker’s nineteenth century slave rebellion drama launched at Sundance to great acclaim and was promptly snapped up for a record fee. Rape allegations then surfaced from Parker’s past miring the film in controversy and protests. Now it’s finally out and we can see if it was worth all the initial fuss. The answer is ultimately no. Powerful in parts, it’s also remarkably hackneyed. A missed opportunity.

Office Christmas Party needs little explanation beyond the title. It will involve a giant party at Christmas, and a whole host of shenanigans. The cast for this full-on comedy is terrific with the likes of Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston and Kate McKinnon all appearing. Reviews suggest the rest of the film doesn’t match the talent on-screen but it will probably offer enough diversion.

The festive period wouldn’t be complete without at least one viewing of The Nightmare Before Christmas. Luckily it’s on re-release so you can catch it as it should be seen. This 1993 classic sees Jack Skellington stumble through a portal from Halloween Town to Christmas Town, mixing the two with brilliant effect. Packed full of superb songs and lit up by stunning stop-motion animation, it remains as good now as it ever was.

The world was not exactly crying out for a remake of 1977 live-action animated musical fantasy Pete’s Dragon, yet here we are. The biggest surprise is that it’s been drawing strong reviews. Out now on DVD, it went largely unnoticed over the summer, particularly with The Jungle Book sweeping all before it in the remake business. Maybe now it will get some attention. The film focuses on orphaned Pete who is rescued in the forest by a big green dragon. It could make a good Xmas gift, but you might want it for yourself.

That ends another week. I don’t need to tell you that a return to a certain galaxy far, far away beckons soon.

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